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Amazon HQ2

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28 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

Why are you so sure it is Boston? Do you have some kind of inside information and you would have to be pretty high up in Amazon to be so.  If Boston Dallas and Atlanta are the 3 leaders and they maybe they are I dont know why not just pitch them against each other?  I know Amazon has sniffed around Atlanta looking for 500K of space but why go through this national charade? Why not do what every other company does and announce a short list and then have them bid against themselves.  Yes Boston has huge number of graduates but will they work for Amazon or want to go out to Silicon Valley like Mark Zuckerberg did with the Facebook.  Does Amazon have a large number of MIT and Harvard grads now in their leadership I don't know. 

Honestly I think one thing that really hurts Charlotte is its lack of quality universities.  Yes, Davidson is in the metro and no, I'm not trying to crap on Queens or UNCC here.  But honestly, compare what Charlotte has to Boston.  Or Dallas.  Or Atlanta.  They destroy us.  Especially Boston. 

Recruiting top level talent is a damn breeze in those cities when you've got nationally renowned universities, in your backyard, pumping out top students left and right.  Personally I think Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh got an upper hand on us for that reason alone.  UT in Austin.  Emory and Georgia Tech in Atlanta.  UNC, Duke and State in Raleigh.  Charlotte has a ton going for it, but this is a significant hurdle.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Boston got it though.  My company is HQ'd in Boston and our west coast headquarters is here in Seattle.  They certainly seem to have a little city relationship going on.

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Seems like Austin would be a strong candidate. Maybe us. I'm  too cynical about Charlotte's ability to win over a company that likes and wants urban amenities because we're so car-oriented.

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True. But it seems like Dallas, DC, Boston, etc. would all be able to offer the urban amenities that they're looking for more easily than Charlotte. That said, I do hope we can land them somehow. My property values would appreciate it.

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I think that NY and Boston, on paper, are the two best candidates.

NY won't give them nearly as much money as places like Dallas and Atlanta.  If Boston comes close to those cities' incentives, I'm sure it will go there.

Charlotte lacks the universities, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the flight connections that Amazon seeks.   Compare Charlotte's international connections to those in NY or Dallas.  How many daily direct flights does Charlotte have to London, Paris, Beijing, Dubai, São Paulo, etc., let alone to Seattle and SF?

It would be great if Charlotte gets it, but I don't see it happening.

I'd be pleased with a new Duke Energy tower.

Edited by SydneyCarton
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But would the great universities of the Carolinas including Duke, UNC,  NC State and Clemson etc plus our local universities count.   I say this because many of their graduates from those schools in both Carolinas head to Charlotte once they graduate.  We are the largest and most dominate city in the Carolinas? They are not hiring 50K people in the first year it is over many many years. 

Honestly they should do what Infosys is doing with multiple office centers across the country?  

Just checked out open jobs in Seattle with Amazon and while many are tech many are not. Marketing, HR, Customer advocate specialist, product manager.    They don't all seem to have Harvard or MIT degrees. It is a huge tech oriented retailing giant that has lots of jobs.  Tech jobs are important for sure but check out their list  By the way they have 6000 open jobs in Seattle right now, If only you could find a place to live.   They do have 2600 software positions open but if they cant find them in Seattle where then? They really need to do 2-3 offices around the country if you ask me the more I think about it. 

https://www.amazon.jobs/location/seattle-wa?base_query=&loc_query=&job_count=40&result_limit=10&sort=relevant&location[]=seattle-wa&cache

 

Edited by KJHburg
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7 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

But would the great universities of the Carolinas including Duke, UNC,  NC State and Clemson etc plus our local universities count. ...

 

 

 

That's a good point.

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29 minutes ago, SydneyCarton said:

I think that NY and Boston, on paper, are the two best candidates.

NY won't give them nearly as much money as places like Dallas and Atlanta.  If Boston comes close to those cities' incentives, I'm sure it will go there.

Charlotte lacks the universities, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the flight connections that Amazon seeks.   Compare Charlotte's international connections to those in NY or Dallas.  How many daily direct flights does Charlotte have to London, Paris, Beijing, Dubai, São Paulo, etc., let alone to Seattle and SF?

It would be great if Charlotte gets it, but I don't see it happening.

I'd be pleased with a new Duke Energy tower.

How many great schools are within a three hour drive from Charlotte...State, Carolina, Duke, Wake, Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, UGA (maybe a but further).  BOA and every other bank already attracts talent from all over the country, the lack of multiple large universities in the city should not be an issue.

Charlotte has over 4 nonstop flights each day to London, Paris, Seattle and SF.  I am not sure where you got the cities listed for flight connections, because I didn't see any listed in the RFP.  Charlotte's airport more than meets the need of Amazon.

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It all depends on Bezos. His self-confidence is high enough that I think he may choose somewhere lesser-known (like Charlotte or Raleigh) over a more established place, simply so that he can make his mark on it. I also think he has more understanding of his company's role than analysts. A lot of this will be focused on the continuing development and maintenance of AWS, in my opinion, which is where the real power of Amazon now lies. Shipping? Online sales? Vulnerable to competition. The quality of Amazon goods is already dropping as counterfeit and "direct-from-China" sellers make themselves known. AWS? Nobody can touch it right now. $10 billion in revenue. Microsoft's somewhere around $4 billion, and Google's around $1 billion. That business is not moving. It could pay the bills for a second HQ for fifty years.

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1 hour ago, asthasr said:

It all depends on Bezos. His self-confidence is high enough that I think he may choose somewhere lesser-known (like Charlotte or Raleigh) over a more established place, simply so that he can make his mark on it. I also think he has more understanding of his company's role than analysts. A lot of this will be focused on the continuing development and maintenance of AWS, in my opinion, which is where the real power of Amazon now lies. Shipping? Online sales? Vulnerable to competition. The quality of Amazon goods is already dropping as counterfeit and "direct-from-China" sellers make themselves known. AWS? Nobody can touch it right now. $10 billion in revenue. Microsoft's somewhere around $4 billion, and Google's around $1 billion. That business is not moving. It could pay the bills for a second HQ for fifty years.

Never heard of AWS... just looked it up.  10b vs 4b vs 1b.... whoa!

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10 hours ago, SydneyCarton said:

I think that NY and Boston, on paper, are the two best candidates.

NY won't give them nearly as much money as places like Dallas and Atlanta.  If Boston comes close to those cities' incentives, I'm sure it will go there.

Charlotte lacks the universities, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, and the flight connections that Amazon seeks.   Compare Charlotte's international connections to those in NY or Dallas.  How many daily direct flights does Charlotte have to London, Paris, Beijing, Dubai, São Paulo, etc., let alone to Seattle and SF?

It would be great if Charlotte gets it, but I don't see it happening.

I'd be pleased with a new Duke Energy tower.

 

I don't think Charlotte is going to land Amazon either but I am not sure I buy into the lack of International Flights.  

For Flights, isn't this just a demand?  I am pretty sure if there was a demand to fill daily direct flights American or another airline would.  FWIW, Seattle which is home to Microsoft and Amazon, has just 1 daily flight to Paris and Dubai and does not have a daily flight to São Paulo.  Boston has just 1 daily to Dubai does not have daily flights to São Paulo or Beijing.   Besides, the only cities they listed in the RFP were Seattle, NYC, SFO and DC.   Charlotte has all of these FWIW.

I think the two major negatives for cities like Charlotte are going to be Universities and Culture, as you suggest.  You're not going to build out CS programs overnight to the level of Boston but, on the other hand,  just because you go to college somewhere does not mean that's where you're supposed to settle down after school.  Companies like Amazon, Apple, Alphabet don't need 'silicon valley' or 'wall street' to draw in talent.  They just need to say we're hiring.   I think their location is more out of origin rather than necessity.  The reverse way to look at this is for all of the universities and graduates in Boston, why are there not lots of large tech companies there?   I'll also give you that Charlotte is not the most cosmopolitan city out there.  It's never going to be at the level of NYC, San Fran or London.  But  'cultural community fit' is just one of the 8 factors they put out.  

That said, two other factors and listed #1 and #2 are Site/Building and Capital and Operating Costs.  

I do not even know if you can get enough land in NYC to build 8 million sq ft. of office space that’s located on mass transit.  Seriously, is it even possible?  Same for Boston.  One thing that should be considered is Amazon is going to want to build a compound.  Not a scattered collection of high rises but a compound of buildings near each other.  Unlike flights or universities, which are possible in the future but do not exist today, I don’t think this is even possible in some cities.  

Then, looking at construction costs it does not look great on paper.  3 World Trade Center, at 2,232,984 sq ft, cost $2.75 billion in NYC and will be completed in 2018.  That’s $1231.00 a sq ft. Amazon has said it wants to build 8 million sq ft. of office space.  Based on these numbers, you would be looking at $9.9 billion to build that out in NYC and that’s if they find that magical grouping of city blocks.  Can’t find a good tower to base Boston off but I am sure the numbers are high.  Not as high but high.  

After everything is built, you then need to operate in these places.  While Amazon might mention culture for its employees, it also mentions “stable and business-friendly regulations and tax structure” and those words and NYC or Boston don’t belong in the same sentence or paragraph.  

 

At the end of the day I think they are going to land somewhere on the East Coast.   The best CS programs on the East Coast (general area under Eastern Time Zone) are MIT, Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Michigan, Yale, Virginia, Columbia, Duke, Penn, Florida and Johns Hopkins.  A city that can pull from most of these schools will do just fine.   It's one thing to ask a kid at Virginia to move to Atlanta vs. Denver or San Fran.  

 

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It is worth noting that the entire state of Washington isn't exactly packed full of prestigious universities and they still managed to build a company with 50,000 employees. On LinkedIn, about 6,000 employees of Amazon in the Seattle area are University of Washington graduates and only 1,000 are Washington State graduates. They are pulling heavily from the entire West Coast. They have over 2,800 employees on LinkedIn based in Seattle that are graduates from a University of California school and 700 that are graduates from a Cal State school. They have 800 from Arizona State and U of Arizona. They have 600 Seattle employees from the University of Southern California, 500 from Stanford, 420 from the University of Oregon, etc.... 

Most of these schools are hundreds to THOUSANDS of miles away from Seattle. I'd argue while Charlotte doesn't have the University of Washington right in it's back yard, it is within a 2-4 hour drive of many more prestigious universities and a talent pool to fill a campus from of recent graduates than geographically isolated Seattle. While Amazon is hunting in the Los Angeles area, Arizona, Bay Area, etc... for talent to re-locate them to Seattle, in Charlotte you could pull from Atlanta, Tennessee, Virginia, the Triangle, etc... and be within a 2-6 hour drive for college recruiting. 

Edited by CLT2014
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2 hours ago, archiham04 said:

Never heard of AWS... just looked it up.  10b vs 4b vs 1b.... whoa!

It's not well known outside of the tech industry, for obvious reasons. Nor is its power and importance understood, even among people who "know about it" who aren't programmers. At this point, Amazon-the-retail-behemoth is a footnote. Amazon-the-cloud-provider is a lot more powerful.

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Warren Buffet has spoken on television financial shows how Amazon surprised him, and Amazon even surprised themselves with how much runway they were given (how much head start) over all other likely providers. He likes them (it?)

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1 hour ago, ricky_davis_fan_21 said:

https://twitter.com/AMZ2CLT?s=09

Everyone please follow lol.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 10.24.08 AM.png

Wow, see, that's the kind of thing I am worried about..

 

As to the Boston leak, there are seemingly legitimate reports of it, though they mention "several" senior execs in favor of it, that would only be statistically significant if those senior execs make up a high enough percent of the team making the selection.  It is however worrisome in how different of a location Boston is from CLT, I can just imagine the debates on subjects like culture, politics and history behind closed doors.

Edited by nowensone
grammar
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15 hours ago, Spartan said:

Seems like Austin would be a strong candidate. Maybe us. I'm  too cynical about Charlotte's ability to win over a company that likes and wants urban amenities because we're so car-oriented.

You're not seriously saying Austin is less car-oriented than Charlotte are you? 

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14 hours ago, ah59396 said:

Honestly I think one thing that really hurts Charlotte is its lack of quality universities.  Yes, Davidson is in the metro and no, I'm not trying to crap on Queens or UNCC here.  But honestly, compare what Charlotte has to Boston.  Or Dallas.  Or Atlanta.  They destroy us.  Especially Boston. 

Recruiting top level talent is a damn breeze in those cities when you've got nationally renowned universities, in your backyard, pumping out top students left and right.  Personally I think Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh got an upper hand on us for that reason alone.  UT in Austin.  Emory and Georgia Tech in Atlanta.  UNC, Duke and State in Raleigh.  Charlotte has a ton going for it, but this is a significant hurdle.

Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Boston got it though.  My company is HQ'd in Boston and our west coast headquarters is here in Seattle.  They certainly seem to have a little city relationship going on.

I don't believe that Boston is contender. It isn't the same place as it was years ago just like Minneapolis.  Based on the state of the economies of cities and patterns of growth, the outstanding cities are Denver, Raleigh, Atlanta, and Dallas followed by Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, and Nashville. There are also Seattle, Portland and San Jose but they are on the west coast and I believe they are focusing only on the east. Boston is a powerhouse in the northeast, but the up and coming economies are either south or west.  My bet would be 1. Atlanta, 2. Dallas, 3. Charlotte.   Raleigh generally kicks ass in most categories, but I believe it is just too small at this point which actually might be a plus. So, I will make it my fourth guess of selection. 

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2 hours ago, CLT2014 said:

It is worth noting that the entire state of Washington isn't exactly packed full of prestigious universities and they still managed to build a company with 50,000 employees. On LinkedIn, about 6,000 employees of Amazon in the Seattle area are University of Washington graduates and only 1,000 are Washington State graduates. They are pulling heavily from the entire West Coast. They have over 2,800 employees on LinkedIn based in Seattle that are graduates from a University of California school and 700 that are graduates from a Cal State school. They have 800 from Arizona State and U of Arizona. They have 600 Seattle employees from the University of Southern California, 500 from Stanford, 420 from the University of Oregon, etc.... 

Most of these schools are hundreds to THOUSANDS of miles away from Seattle. I'd argue while Charlotte doesn't have the University of Washington right in it's back yard, it is within a 2-4 hour drive of many more prestigious universities and a talent pool to fill a campus from of recent graduates than geographically isolated Seattle. While Amazon is hunting in the Los Angeles area, Arizona, Bay Area, etc... for talent to re-locate them to Seattle, in Charlotte you could pull from Atlanta, Tennessee, Virginia, the Triangle, etc... and be within a 2-6 hour drive for college recruiting. 

 

That's true.  But it's worth noting that attracting top level talent to Charlotte is likely a greater challenge than attracting it to Seattle/Boston/NYC.  Being "a cheap place to live" isn't necessarily a selling point for everyone.  Lot's of young, talented people want to be in these big, bustling metropolises.  As someone else mentioned, it's no surprise to me that leaks are coming out that Boston is the preferred choice of Amazon execs.  In terms of cultural amenities, Charlotte is heavily outmatched.  It's certainly come a longgggg way, but we are well behind the big dogs.

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53 minutes ago, ah59396 said:

 

That's true.  But it's worth noting that attracting top level talent to Charlotte is likely a greater challenge than attracting it to Seattle/Boston/NYC.  Being "a cheap place to live" isn't necessarily a selling point for everyone.  Lot's of young, talented people want to be in these big, bustling metropolises. 

I'll echo this. While its not a one to one correspondence, cheap often equals boring (or bad schools, or low-dynamism, or crappy traffic, or bad transit, or poor real estate investment prospects or....). If cheap were the primary factor behind residential and corporate location decision-making then Jackson Mississippi and Montgomery Alabama would be boomtowns. (I am not saying that the cost of living / business is irrelevant but I do think its overblown, particularly in discussions of where to locate very highly paid HQ type jobs.)

I am guessing that the Boston leak was some execs who are not in the loop telegraphing their preference. While these guys may not be the ones making the choice,,  the leak may be indicative of how the executive levels of the company view the cost / culture trade off (as nowensone suggests).

Edited by kermit
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I think Charlotte is the only city in North Carolina that has developers that can handle a project like this.  I feel that Charlotte chances are just as good as any other city.  It makes sense to put the HQ2 in the Eastern Time zone.  This would give Amazon max time of 12 hours a day.  I believe that the HQ2 will go to a city in the Southern USA,   Atlanta or Charlotte.

I do not think Raleigh has the developers beside Kane that could handle a project like this.

 

 

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If Amazon choose Boston as some speculate I say the Chamber and NCEDP go after every company based and with large operations in Boston like Fidelity.  They may fear losing good people to this giant Amazon and it would be a great strategy and show how Amazon rose the cost of living and sucked talent from other companies.    I think Charlotte Atlanta and Northern VA are my top 3 in no particular order.  Charlotte WILL survive and thrive with or without Amazon! 

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8 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

If Amazon choose Boston as some speculate I say the Chamber and NCEDP go after every company based and with large operations in Boston like Fidelity.  They may fear losing good people to this giant Amazon and it would be a great strategy and show how Amazon rose the cost of living and sucked talent from other companies.    I think Charlotte Atlanta and Northern VA are my top 3 in no particular order.  Charlotte WILL survive and thrive with or without Amazon! 

 

Charlotte will absolutely thrive without Amazon.  Of course It would still be incredible to get it.  A transforming addition to the city.  I just hope everyone here tempers their expectations.

 

From investorplace:

According to BloombergView, there are six possible cities that are most likely to become the home of the Amazon’s second quarters. These cities are Toronto, Boston, Washington, Atlanta, Dallas and Denver.

 

From cnn:

Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, Austin, DC, Toronto

 

From cnbc:

To better rank them overall, we gave each city points based on how they rank in Amazon's criteria and then added up the score. Based on those results, Amazon might want to give New York, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston a close look.

 

From CityLab

Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Toronto, DC, New Orleans

 

 

Some pretty apparent trends there, but for a few random outliers (Pittsburgh, New Orleans?).   Atlanta and Dallas made every list.  Boston and DC were on 3 of these.  For what it's worth, I just typed in "Amazon top cities" on google and picked the first four publications that popped out.  So it's not scientific by any means.  Just playing red team here.

 

The point of my post isn't to piss in anyone's cheerios.  We've got a shot at it.  But it's an outside shot.  We are definitely not a "top contender" for Amazon.  But we are in the mix.

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